Family mourns boy who died of flu: 'It really hits home now'
Friends and family are mourning a seven-year-old boy who died of the flu, in the second fatal case to hit the same school in Guelph, Ont. this year.
Boyqara Dahi was remembered as a “happy boy” at the Islamic Society of Guelph on Saturday, where family members said they hope his death inspires other to take the flu more seriously.
“It really hits home now, the dangers of it,” Boyqara’s cousin, Yasin Dahi, told CTV Kitchener. “It’s an absolute shock.”
Boyqara died Thursday, less than two weeks after an older student at his school passed away from illness. Health officials have confirmed that both deaths were a result of the flu. They say there is no indication the two passed the virus between one another.
The boy’s father, Ashraf Dahi, says he didn’t expect Boyqara’s health to deteriorate the way it did. He says Boyqara had cerebral palsy, and would often face bouts of sickness in the winter. “All the time he gets sick, and when we get the antibiotics he will get better,” Dahi told CTV Kitchener.
Dahi says he took Boyqara to the clinic, but the boy did not improve after the visit. “He had a fever. He was coughing. He was throwing up,” Dahi said.
Ashraf Dahi fell asleep next to his son Wednesday night, and remembers the boy saying he felt “OK” before going to sleep.
But Dahi knew something was wrong early the next morning. “I didn’t hear anything and I got up right away from my bed and he wasn’t breathing,” Dahi said.
The boy was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Boyqara and the other victim, 12-year-old Layna Vu Pollard, were both students at Westminster Woods Public School.
The girl’s father told CTV Kitchener that he was “broken” by the death of his only child.
Health officials say both children died of the influenza B strain. Neither child received a flu shot, which is considered to be 55 per cent effective against that particular strain, and 10-20 per cent effective against the other strain of the virus currently circulating in Canada.
The school and the Upper Grand District School Board have advised parents to get their children vaccinated against the flu.
With files from CTV Kitchener